Monday, November 26, 2012

An Accidental NANOWRIMO

Some of you may be deep into the writing rollercoaster ride from hell that is NANOWRIMO. If so, I hope it is going well! For those of you who aren't writers, NANOWRIMO is short for National Novel Writing Month--November, in which authors are challenged to write a 50K word novel (or a portion of one) in one month. Not impossible, but damned difficult.

I actually did NANO with my novel, Pentacle and Pentimentos, which eventually got me my agent Elaine Spencer. In theory, you're supposed to just sit and write the first draft with no editing along the way, but I can't write that way. Luckily, I had done a detailed outline first, so I still managed to finish.

This year, there was no way I was going to take on NANO, because I was already deep into the end stages of writing THE CURRENT NOVEL (I swear, I'll tell you the name soon). But one of the things I do when I am deep into the process is to write my daily word totals on my white board as a kind of running tally. I find that it really keeps me motivated. This is what the board looked like for the last of this novel:

You can see (if you squint) that it includes the date, the page I'm on, the total word count so far, the number of words done that day, and the guestimate percentage of book done (I started out thinking the book was 90K long and it turned out to be 105K, so my guestimate was way off until near the end).

That first date is 10/14 and I was at about 50K words. The last date is 11/7 and that was when I typed "THE END" at about 105K words. When I stopped to figure it out, I'd written 54,485 words in 25 days.


So I guess you could say I did NANO after all, kinda sorta by accident. *blinks* Mind you, the first half of the book took months, and went slower than usual, so there is that to balance out the gloating.

Now, of course, I still have to do edits based on the notes from my first readers, and the feedback from Elaine. But still, it was kind of cool to see what I'd done. What can I say? When the book decides it's coming out--it's coming out!

Who here is doing NANOWRIMO this year, and how is it going?


  1. Hi Deb,
    I am doing nano again this year. I never got to the 50K mark in past attempts, usually go to see the Mouse with my cousin. This year I am home. With two surgeries I didnt really want to travel to much. So, I have 21K written as I write this. I'm thinking sure I can finish it in three days. Right. I have my witch, two love interests and so far two murders. I have to spirits guard for my protag. And its going.The murderer well, maybe someone will read it and be surprised. So wish eluck Deb. I'm into the third chapter I have to get past that. Of course since I didn't go away this year I tripped over the hassak thos morning and down I went. Left knee is not happy, The right one has plenty of fluid around it that it had a cushion. One surgery was my left ankle. but its OK.
    On my way to the chiropractor.

    1. Good grief! I hope you are feeling better soon. And good luck with NANO! It sounds like you are really into it, which is great.

  2. I was already working on something and didn't want to ditch it for new material so I passed on Nano this year.
    Trying to be supportive to the nanoers in my writing group, though.
    Congrats on 55K in 25 days. Wow!

    1. That pretty much sounds like me. Sometimes the timing just doesn't work out. And honestly, I always write as fast as the book will come out, and challenge myself daily, so having done NANO once, I don't feel any real need (or benefit) to do it again.